Defending the Unborn:A Papal Warning

Author: Mary Beth Bonacci


by Mary Beth Bonacci

"Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life. Pope John Paul II, Mass at Cherry Creek State Park

We've all heard, "As long as you tried your best, whatever happens is okay," or "Give it your best shot, and then let the chips fall where they may." But the Pope is saying something completely different here. He's not saying we should try our best and then see what happens. He's not saying woe to us if we don't try. He's saying woe to us if we don't succeed. That's different.

"Cut us some slack," you say. "Do you know what you're asking? There's a lot of abortion out here, and it's pretty well entrenched. This is a pretty big job here."

What does it mean? What does he expect of us? What is he saying?

Well, for starters, what does "woe" mean? according to Brother Webster, it means "grief, troubles, affliction." It means bad time ahead.

Basically, the pope is saying that if we don't get rid of abortion, we've got bad times coming up. We're going to be miserable. We're going to have a lot of grief, trouble and affliction.

Well, that's not too hard to figure out. A society that kills 1.5 million innocent children every year obviously doesn't have much respect for life. And if they don't respect all human life, where does it end? We get rid of unborn babies because they're inconvenient. Who else is inconvenient? Old people, for starters. They need to be taken care of, they use up valuable medical treatment when they're just going to die anyway, and we're generally in a hurry to collect what we've inherited from them before they get a chance to blow it all on doctors and pain killers. Why not get them out of the way, too?

Hey, what about poor people? They just take up space, right? What are they really contributing? And how about the handicapped? Maybe they could be expendable, too. And what about that ethnic group you don't really like? Or those Christians who are always making people feel so guilty?

If you think that lack of respect for life is going to stop with the unborn, guess again. It never works that way. It didn't work that way in Nazi Germany. They started with the unborn, the handicapped and the old, and they ended by nearly exterminating an entire race.

We're already on our way. We've got a nutcase doctor in Michigan killing people in the back of his car, and no one stops him. In Holland, where "mercy killing" is common, old people are afraid to go to the hospital. And here in the U.S., born handicapped babies have been left to starve because they weren't "good enough."

It's only going to get worse. Who else's life won't they respect? Your friends? Your children? Your own?

The pope is saying that, if it comes down this way, it won't do a whole lot of good to say, "But, gee, I really tried to stop abortion." Trying is good, and we need to try as hard as we can. But if we try and lose, there'll be hell to pay.

To paraphrase a quote attributed to a post-war German citizen: When they came for the Poles, I said nothing, for I was not a Pole; when they came for the gypsies, I said nothing, for I was not a gypsy; When they came for the Jews, I said nothing, for I was not a Jew; When they came for me, no one said anything, for there was no one left.

If you want someone to be left when they come for you, I suggest you start working for the unborn now. Work hard ¾ as though your life depended on it.

It jolly well might.

Bonacci is a frequent lecturer on chastity.

This article appeared in the August 18, 1994 issue of "The Arlington Catholic Herald."

Courtesy of the "Arlington Catholic Herald" diocesan newspaper of the Arlington (VA) diocese. For subscription information, call 1-800-377-0511 or write 200 North Glebe Road, Suite 607 Arlington, VA 22203.